Elsewhere - Mania.com

Book Review

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  • Book: Elsewhere
  • Written By: William Peter Blatty
  • Publisher: Cemetery Dance
  • Pages: 220
  • Price: $25
  • Series:


New haunting novel from the author of The Exorcist

By Tim Janson     February 16, 2009

Elsewhere by William Peter Blatty(2009).
© Cemetery Dance


William Peter Blatty, author of “The Exorcist”, returns to the horror genre with a story that is more subtle than that classic novel, but by no means less powerful. This is a story in the vein of Shirley Jackson’s “The Haunting” or Richard Matheson’s “Hell House” in that the horror and atmosphere build slowly as psychological stress builds upon the inhabitants. 
Joan Freeboard is a well-to-do New York City real estate agent who lives a lavish lifestyle. Her friends are the respected socialite types: artists, writers, etc… Joan has recently found a mansion named Elsewhere that can earn her a killing in commission if she can sell the place. The only problem is the house, located out on an island off Manhattan, is rumored to be haunted. Joan hatches a plot to get the house sold. She brings in a respected paranormal investigator, Gabriel Case, and a renowned psychic, Anna Trawley, to investigate the house and hopefully clear its reputation. She also enlists the aid of her close friend, writer Terrence Dare, to be her witness and document the events, and put to rest anyone’s doubts about the mansion.
All arrive at the island and begin their investigation. It’s not long before the house grabs a hold of each visitor in its own unique way, preying on each of their insecurities. Soon the phones and television go dead and then Joan is shaken to her core to find she can no longer see Manhattan from the island, as if it had completely disappeared. It’s a classic haunted house mood with strange sounds and apparitions. Blatty is so skillful at working his spell upon the characters that you are not sure whether they are really seeing and hearing ghosts, or if their sanity is breaking down. 
The characters are fresh and witty and their banter is often hilarious, dripping with sarcasm, especially as Joan and Terrence trade barbs at each other. The novel seems even shorter than its two hundred plus pages as Blatty keeps the pace up tempo throughout. Blatty throws numerous curveballs at the reader and saves his best pitch for the book’s shocking climax that every good horror book should have. A quick read but one that is perfect for a dark and stormy night…or a bright sunny day, whichever you prefer! 


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LittleNell1824 2/16/2009 10:18:29 AM

Shoot. I was just at Barnes and Noble spending gift cards. I wish I would've read this review first. Looks really good!

tjanson 2/16/2009 10:52:34 AM

Nell, Actually it won't be on bookshelves until next month, but definitely check it out.

dragon261 3/13/2009 7:34:12 AM

I loved Hellhouse when I read it many moons ago. If this becomes a best seller Hollywood will make a movie out of it that will suck the life out of it. 

mgibson17 3/22/2009 4:57:47 PM

"Soon the phones and television go dead and then Joan is shaken to her core to find she can no longer see Manhattan from the island,"
Leave!!! Runnnnn!!
Get out damn you!!

Please don’t take this the wrong way..
This story touched a nerve what with the premiere of a, A Haunting in Connecticut.
I don’t care what type of Imp- or spirit, demon or entity invades a quiet house in the suburbs- or lies waiting for a dysfunctional family moving in amid rumors of the house being haunted; the people will stay in the house. Even when the evil begins to manifest itself with the sighting of phantoms- apparitions or levitating beds, the naive inhabitants will deal with it by calling in a priest or parapsychologist; but they won’t move.

This is why very few horror movies are made with blacks. I can think of Haunted Mansion with Eddie Murphy- but the premise was campy and lacked the bite of a conventional horror flick. I can think of Thirteen Ghosts, where you had the stereotypical, “Sassy” black sista who wasn’t going to die if she could help it. We run- to quote Cedric the Entertainer. We don’t even have to know what we are running about; if I see you run I’m gonna run. We can talk about why we was running after we get to where we goin. Now this is not a slight, so please forgive me if I offend anyone; but statistically there is some truth. Let too many blacks move into a neighborhood and whites are gone faster than you can say boo! Equity be damned.

It didn’t take a ghost- or a malevolent ghoul- or a prediction of terrible things to come; cause that’s not enough to make whites move in fear of their lives. Whites will brave demons- monsters and vampires, talk trash to masked serial killers; take skinny dips in abandoned summer camps known to be frequented by said serial killer. But will forsake claims to said property once the complexion of the neighborhood begins to change (certainly not in all cases; forgive my generalizations.) I guess the reality of a young black male outclasses anything showing in the box office when talking about sheer terror and horror.

I just don’t understand it. Horror movie after horror movie including Gremlins; where the suburban wife defends her kitchen with a butcher knife against 3 ft demons. Whites simply stay in the house. At least when the house in Amityville told whites to “get out,” they finally left; but it really had to work hard on getting them out. We blacks are cowards when it comes to the supernatural. We don’t go looking for things that go bump in the night. That’s why we talk to the screen when the young girl goes down into the basement with blood obviously streaming down the walls. The basement lights don’t work- it’s lightening outside and the music begins to swell in the background. Gurl!! Are you crazy??? He's standing by the water heater!!

Why not just go back upstairs and call 911? Or leave and call from a friend’s house.
Why go downstairs into a dark cellar known to be the gateway to hell- just to check things out?
Stop that!



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